INTERVIEW/SINGLE: Thai Straight Edge Crew MONUMENT X Make Grand Return [Thailand]

INTERVIEW | Monument X
Photo Credit: PPCHARIN

As American straight bands Magnitude and Envision roll through Asia, it seems this was more than the right inspiration for Thai straight edge band MONUMENT X to come back out of the woodwork and get rolling again. The show takes place in a few days (with details in the flyer below) but we wanted to take this opportunity to find out more about the legendary Thai band and what they’ve been up to.

We hit up their guitarist Niko who provided some killer answers to get to know the band better and the ethics they believe in.

While we’re at it, the band also just threw themselves into the studio and knocked out a brand new 5 song EP! Check out a brand new single ‘Dawn of Equality’ further below.

UA: What up fellas! Tell us how and why the band got back together again!
In 2019 I moved back to Finland to complete my national service. After I finished my service the pandemic happened so my planned 1 year abroad turned into 4 years. I recently moved back to Thailand and I met with Gap and Neung at the Srinakarin Train Market. I asked Neung if he’d be interested to get the gang back together to play at the upcoming Magnitude / Envision show. We checked which of us would be free and we ended up with the lineup of Niko, Neung (Whispers), Harez, Kyo (Harsh, Then and Now), and our friend Hardyouth helping on the bass. After a few practice sessions, we also wrote new songs which we just finished recording.

UA: SICK! So is that the original reason that the band broke up in the first place? Are the current members all edge?
I don’t think we ever technically meant to break up. I think it’s more of the fact that we began playing while we were still in our early 20s and as time goes on our responsibilities were catching up so we didn’t have much time to focus on the band and the pandemic certainly didn’t help.

UA: Gotya! In general, as you think about when the band started and the “legacy” it has had…how has straight edge in general developed in Thailand through your perspective?
Straight edge has always been a sizable minority in the Thai hardcore scene. There are bands with straight edge members in them but there weren’t any straight edge bands other than X on the Hand. At heart, we are just Thai straight edge hardcore kids who came together to play the kind of music that inspires us and over time I could see more and more people come to the shows and sing a long with us not just in Thailand but all around South-East Asia. I don’t know

how many of those people are straight edge but I’d like to think that if our songs speak to you on a personal level I’m glad to have you come up front to the stage and sing-a-long, stage dive and dance with us. We are a hardcore punk band after all.

UA: I know some places around Asia there is a literal culture clash with the tenets of hardcore because drinking is such a part of the culture (Japan/China). But then there are some places where straight edge fits in like a glove (Muslim-dominant countries for example). What’s it been like in Thailand? When people find out in straight edge here in HK I had a colleague literally say “you don’t drink? You’re not a man”. Hahaha…
I’ve always felt home and welcome in the relatively small Thailand hardcore scene. In general, I feel that in Thai culture people are very understanding and respectful of your personal choices and beliefs here. Same applies to the hardcore scene. It’s like one big family.

I know what you mean. I grew up in Finland which also has a very strong drinking culture and I’m sure someone has made that same exact comment to me while growing up. I just remembered that back in Finland at a punk show, I told one of my friend’s friends I was straight edge and he straight up blew cigarette smoke on me from point-blank range. I think I was around 16 at the time. I don’t truly know what elicits that sort of hostile response from people about something that doesn’t affect their lives in the slightest. I haven’t had any interactions like that in Thailand. Mind you in Finland a lot of the hardcore shows shared the same space with classic punks who were legendary for their substance abuse, especially the older generation.

“I told one of my friend’s friends I was straight edge and he straight up blew cigarette smoke on me from point-blank range.”

The hardcore scene itself I have only good memories of from my time in Finland. In many ways, it felt very similar to the Thai hardcore scene with the tight-knit community and love for a heavier kind of sound with straight edge having a similar kind of presence.

UA: In terms of the brand new EP, what can we expect on the EP? Judge? Floorpunch?More angry straight edge or more on the posi side?
The new EP picks up where we left off and on the new tracks you can definitely begin to hear more influence of late ‘90s–early ’00s bands like Bane, Have Heart and Turning Point. Monument X is and always will be a straight edge band and we’ve always been inspired by everything in that space from bands like Youth of Today, Side by Side, Insted and Turning Point to heavier bands like Judge and Strife and even more modern bands like Bane, Have Heart and Mental.

I’d like to think that Monument X songs will always be on the positive side in terms of the lyrics. Unity, self-reflection and hope for a better tomorrow are themes that we bring out in the upcoming record.

UA: Was moving into a more melodic hardcore direction like Turning Point/Bane a conscious decision or did it just end up that way?
I think it was just a matter of natural progression. You can thank Neung and Harez who are the driving forces behind our songwriting. Neung’s talented guitar work combined with Harez’s masterful drumming have always been the key to our sound. We will still have blazing fast riffs, breakdowns and sing-a-longs but don’t be scared when you hear some roaring solos from P’Neung in the new record. Can’t wait for you guys to hear it!


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